Hornets Drop Another Tough One to Denver

Jamal Murray Hits Game-Winner; Rozier’s Rebuttal Just Off the Mark at Buzzer
by Sam Perley

Postgame Coverage: Game Gallery | Graham Highlights | Coach Borrego | Devonte' Graham | Willy Hernangomez

The Charlotte Hornets endured a last-second loss for the second consecutive game, falling at the buzzer to the visiting Denver Nuggets, 114-112, on Thursday, March 5 at Spectrum Center.

Devonte’ Graham returned from a one-game absence, finishing with a game-high 24 points on 8-of-15 shooting (3-of-7 from three) and seven assists in the loss. The Hornets guard is now the fourth different player in franchise history to reach 200 threes in a single season (Kemba Walker, Jason Richardson and Glen Rice) and the fifth NBA player to reach this milestone in 2019-20 (James Harden, Buddy Hield, Duncan Robinson and Damian Lillard)

Trailing by nine at the half, Charlotte opened the third on a 16-3 run and entered the fourth holding an 82-80 advantage. Denver eventually inched ahead by one with 31.6 seconds left before Cody Zeller knotted the score with a pair of split free throws. Denver then ran the shot clock down on the other end, getting a well-contested fadeaway bucket from Jamal Murray. With just over five seconds remaining, Terry Rozier got a decent look for Charlotte, but it went a tad long, hitting off the back of the rim as the final horn sounded.

“I’m proud of the group, thought we played well tonight,” said Coach Borrego afterwards. “They’re a good team, they’re going to make runs. I thought we played the right way in the third quarter. Fourth quarter, I thought they made tough shots. We keep putting ourselves in position to win these games, good things are happening. Give our guys a ton of credit. I thought we executed extremely well down the stretch. They just made one more shot than us and it was a tough shot.”

Rozier finished with 19 points and three assists, while Willy Hernangómez added 14 points and six rebounds off the bench. Zeller also scored in double figures with 10 points and Miles Bridges nearly recorded a double-double with eight points, a team-high nine rebounds, two assists and two blocks.

Murray led the Nuggets with 18 points and six assists in the victory, which snapped the team’s three-game losing streak at Spectrum Center. Nikola Jokić almost triple-doubled with 14 points and game-high totals in rebounding (11) and assists (8), while Will Barton (16), Monté Morris (15), Gary Harris (14), Paul Millsap (11) and Jerami Grant (11) made it seven Nugget players with double-digit points.

Charlotte shot 49.4% from the field and 39.4% from three (13-of-33), while Denver went 53% and 30.8% (8-of-26) from these two areas, respectively. The Nuggets also won the rebounding battle by a slim 38-34 margin, which included a 13-9 advantage in offensive boards.

Borrego added, “This is all making us better. These moments right here are defining moments for us as we build this thing, so nobody is hanging their head. Obviously, we want to win these games. We had a shot to win the last game against San Antonio, had another shot to win tonight against Denver. Just keep plugging away. This thing will turn.”

The Hornets will wrap up a four-game homestand on Saturday, March 7, when they take on the Houston Rockets for an earlier 5 PM EST tipoff at Spectrum Center. Watch the game on Fox Sports Southeast or listen in on WFNZ 610 AM/102.5 FM or the Hornets app.

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